Tag Archives: Peace

Consider it pure joy…

My favorite brunette provides a guest blog this morning as she wraps up her summer internship in Denver, CO and prepares to head back to college 🙂


Inspiration this week comes from James 1:2-4

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything,”


I spent my summer volunteering at a free summer camp for kids in Denver’s inner-city housing projects. It was a completely eye-opening and humbling experience— if you’d ever like to have your assumptions and worldview challenged over arts and crafts, I whole-heartedly recommend seeking out one of my kiddos. The beautiful thing about these kids is even though they’ve been through more trials and hardships than the most embittered adult, they still want to let people in and share their hearts. During my 8 weeks at the camp this summer, the way they talked about incredibly heavy topics, like the deportation of a parent or financial stress or violence in their neighborhood, as normal, pervasive facts of life broke my heart.

In the face of challenges such as those faced by the kids, the verses above can seem almost like an empty platitude, an inept way to rationalize suffering in a world created by a good, good God.

Why does a good God allow suffering and evil to plague the lives of His people?

I don’t know the answer to this, and you probably don’t either. Yes, He uses trials to refine us, as iron sharpens iron, and struggles do help us to empathize more fully with Jesus’ experience in this world, but for me, these truths don’t entirely alleviate the holes left by loss and hurt in my life. While we will never be able to truly understand God’s plan for why we or someone we love are suffering, we shouldn’t just throw our hands up in the air and do nothing about our situation.


A German martyr named Alfred Delp once said that while it is not in our power to stop our own suffering or that of others, it is our responsibility to respond in a way that allows the seeds that God plants through hard times to “fall upon fertile ground”. This, for me, taps into the partnership aspect of our faith– as we suffer, we walk alongside Jesus and listen to what life was like for He who took on our sins and as we do, He welcomes our laments and sorrows and complaints with the compassionate ear of someone who has personally known our pain. This companionship and the peace that comes with laying our burdens at His feet is the only way that I consider my tribulations joy.

As I reflect on my summer, the overwhelming emotion from it all is joy. I owe this entirely to the kids I spent it with, the same ones who put on impromptu rap battles and K-Pop dance parties, who planned and executed a water gun sneak-attack on me and the other staff in the halls of our building, and who upon learning that I would share my lunch with whoever asked nicely, would put in increasingly complicated orders for the next day (I’m talking requests like: pb&j with two different kinds of jelly, crunchy peanut butter and cut diagonally). These kids teach a lesson to us all to seize the joy in every moment of every day and to appreciate the small eyes in the storms of our lives as gifts from God.

Consider it pure joy…

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Filed under General, Wednesday Wisdom

Choose Your Experience…

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂


Inspiration this week comes from Matthew 11: 28-30

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”


I walked out of my house into the garage Sunday afternoon to find a piece of paper that read in big letters Choose Your Experience. It was a college flyer that must have missed the trash can and landed on the ground. I’d been praying for guidance as I pondered something difficult. It’s always interesting to see the unique ways that God responds to my prayers 🙂

Choose Your Experience

When I was a child, I used to pray for outcomes — a win in the swimming pool or help on a test, or sometimes I prayed that I wouldn’t have to do something that I didn’t want to do. As an adult, my prayers have changed. Today, it is rare for me to pray for a specific outcome. Instead, my prayers are more like a conversation where I search for guidance, love, and peace.

This change occurred when I realized that we are all meant to walk through challenges during our time on earth. It isn’t about the challenge – it’s about the experience.

Life isn’t easy. Sometimes it hurts. That’s okay. I don’t pray for “outcomes” anymore because I know that I am meant to experience it all. Instead, I pray for Jesus to be with me on the journey because I know that my attitude determines the love, peace, hope and joy that I carry in my heart as I walk through each challenge.

It isn’t about the what. It’s about the how.

Choose your experience.

If we are meant to experience everything, then that phrase says to me that my choice determines not what happens, but rather how I respond and react to what happens. My experience changes when I choose to ask Jesus to walk the journey with me.


I’ve pondered the above scripture from the Gospel of Matthew often over the past year.

How can a yoke be easy to bear?

I live on a farm. While we do not use yokes and oxen in 2018, I’ve seen a horse pull a plow. It isn’t easy and it does not take long for the animal to break out into a sweat from the exertion necessary to pull the plow and work the ground. The yoke provides the connection. It doesn’t stop the work – rather – it orchestrates it.

It came to me on Sunday afternoon that when I put on Jesus’ yoke, the work load does not lesson. In fact, if I truly answer the call, it often increases. But, the burden becomes easy to bear as I open my heart in faith to Jesus’ love- peace – hope – joy.

It is possible to experience difficult times with the peace that enables a purposeful joy. It happens when we choose to experience life on earth with God’s grace in our hearts. When we take Jesus’ yoke upon ourselves, it brings the strength that lightens the burden. The burden may not change, but our ability to bear it does.

Next week we celebrate Christmas. Many will celebrate it with the joy of family – Some will celebrate it in the midst of difficult times. We all are invited to celebrate it with the peace that passes all understanding and creates rest for the soul. This peace comes in the form of the Emmanuel – the Christ child – who yokes us to our Heavenly Father during our earthly journey.

 

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Making Memories in ‘God’s Country’…

Every summer for the past four years, my favorite cowgirl/chef and I have taken our horses north to the Nebraska Sandhills for a long weekend of riding.  I laugh that those few days allow me to search for peace and quiet amidst the relative chaos of my everyday life…

There exists a quiet beauty in the Nebraska Sandhills that soothes my soul...

There exists a quiet beauty in the Nebraska Sandhills that soothes my soul…

Megan was 8 years old when we visited the first time, and our annual trip has become something that she looks forward to each year.  We travel up to the Lake Calamus area located near Burwell, Nebraska and stay with Sherry Jarvis at Heart In Your Hand Horsemanship.  I met Sherry about six years ago and find her to be a woman of tremendous natural horse savvy.

Sherry has become a great mentor to Megan...

Sherry is a great mentor to Megan…

I would like to share my favorite pictures from our three days in the SandHills.  Hopefully they will provide a visual picture of our great weekend!

My little cowgirl loves her horse--they make great partners!

My little cowgirl loves her horse–they make great partners!

Megan also has a very special friend who (along with her grandma) meets us for our days of riding...

Megan also has a very special friend who (along with her grandma) meets us for our days of riding…

I love to watch her develop great communication and feel with her horse.  This builds confidence and focus that will help her all throughout her life...

I love to watch Meg develop great communication and feel with her horse. This builds confidence and focus that will help her all throughout her life…

The beauty that

The beauty that they find together on those hills teaches her to respect the land and work hard to care for it…

My favorite quarter horse and I cooling off with a swim in the lake...

Cooling off in the lake…I had never ‘swum’ while on horseback before.  Dandy doesn’t quite share my All American Swimmer status but he did a pretty good job…

The wild flowers were just starting to bloom...

The wild flowers were just starting to bloom…

The river was also gorgeous...

The river was also gorgeous…

It's always good to have a cowgirl with just a little bit of attitude :)

It’s always good to have a cowgirl with just a little bit of attitude :), along with—

no apparent need to keep her boots on...

no apparent need to keep her boots on…

I hope that each one of you has something special which soothes your soul and renews your faith. 

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Filed under General, Natural Horsemanship